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By now, we’re all aware of what recycling is, right? But did you know it has an alternative that is equally as good for the environment? Upcycling, which also goes by the name creative reuse, means giving a new lease of life to products that would otherwise be deemed useless.

So, in a world where most of us are looking for cheaper solutions to life’s problems, and as fans of saving money wherever we can, we’ve decided to help you tackle this issue with nine simple upcycling hacks.

We should add an important disclaimer: despite offering potential cost savings, this alone will not help first-time buyers get on the property ladder, despite what Kirstie Allsopp may suggest!

Corks

Noisy cupboards and loud slamming drawers are a PROBLEM. Regardless of whether you live with someone who can’t close a door gently, or if it just rattles in a breeze, that sound alone is enough to drive someone mad. 

As a solution, try thinly slicing a cork and sticking in those troublesome areas; problem solved! But their usefulness doesn’t stop there, they’re also great for decorative DIY, as seen in this BuzzFeed piece.

Chalk

For artists, parents, or people who find themselves with an assortment of objects in their homes, any spare blackboard chalk that you have lying around can be incredibly useful.

You’ve probably heard the expression chalk and cheese used to describe two very different things, but did you know that chalk and silver are something of a dynamic duo? Storing it with silver jewellery or your silverware can prevent it tarnishing as it absorbs moisture. Just be sure to change the chalk every few months.

Toilet Rolls

Now the bulk buying lunacy from the start of the pandemic has been and gone – we can pretty safely assume that every house has toilet rolls in its bathroom once more.

But did you know that toilet roll tubes possess many uses? Besides being used for artsy decorations, as seen on Pinterest, they are also great for keeping things like wires and cables neat and organised.

Wrapping Paper

By now, you may be all too aware of just how awful wrapping paper is for the environment. Not only is it unsuitable for recycling or composting due to the way it’s produced, but it comes wrapped in single-use plastic. In short, it’s a big no-no these days.

But don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you rock up to the next birthday or Christmas without wrapping your gifts. If you have any leftover fabrics in the house, why not use this to cover gifts? Alternatively, using newspapers is a considerably more environmentally friendly option.

Cheese Grater

Now, this tip might sound a little strange at first but bear with us. We’re sure you agree, cheese is, quite simply, one of the greatest things on Earth. But, what should you do if the humble cheese grater in your drawer is reaching the end of its life cycle?

If you think the answer is “throw it out”, then take it cheesy. Graters can prove to be the perfect solution for storing earrings in an easy-to-see, clutter-free fashion. Briesy does it. 

Coffee Cans/Tins/Pods

If you’re a big coffee fan, this next tip is definitely for you. Whilst those Clooney-endorsed coffee pods may not be great for the environment, organisations such as RE:CYCLE turn them into bikes, whilst others have used them to nurture seedlings along.

Coffee cans can be used for everything from decorations to kitchen utensils, as seen on sewlicioushomedécor.com. However, our favourite use of upcycled coffee cans is to make a simple wine rack.

Pallets

If you’re a big DIY fan, you may already know all about wooden pallets and how they are the perfect tool to release some of your upcycling creativity. 

Pallets are very versatile in their use and are perfect for making unique furniture and decorations. Don’t believe us? Check out this piece by designrulz.com. Are you finding that a wave of inspiration has struck after reading that? Why not pick up some pallets online for a low cost?

Ketchup Bottle

Is it just me, or does Pancake Day sneak up on us every year in the best possible way? Yet, one of the messier aspects of the day is getting the right amount of batter into a frying pan every time and avoiding a pathetic final pancake.

To avoid this, clean out an old squeezy ketchup/mayo bottle and use it to squirt your batter into the pan. If you’re making pancakes with the little ones, this may be one of the safest (and cleanest!) ways to get them involved.

Dustpan

Last but not least, we come with maybe the most practical tip on this list. Those in flats or limited space in bathrooms may find that they simply don’t have the space for a huge sink. The benefit of this is that you can have slightly more space in your bathroom or kitchen, but the downside is that it may be nigh on impossible to fill up a container or mop bucket.

A simple yet ingenious solution is to use an old, and clean, dustpan to create a channel to funnel the water into a container mess-free.

The Three Rs of recycling, billed as ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, have been in existence for some time, and what better way to do this than by upcycling? 

After reading this piece, we hope we’ve inspired you to think twice before you throw out all those bits and bobs you have lying around the house.

If you want a different eco-friendly option for decorating, why not check out sites such as Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace and consider giving old furniture a new home at a low cost? We’ll even help you get it home safe and sound.

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